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Times online, (UK) 16 December, 2005
3 CD Box Set, Hot Records

Ed Kuepper — formerly of Laughing Clowns, from Australia, who, I’m assured, are “seminal” although, as the gays say, who knew? — has released 23 solo albums, the cream of which are gathered on this three-CD box set. And what cream it is — you could pour it straight into an earthenware bowl and serve it as junket.

Spanning 1990-2000, this is worth a £14.99 punt from anyone who thinks they might be interested in a cross between Johnny Cash and Michael Mooney’s guitar work for Spiritualized and Julian Cope. Kuepper specialises in blasted deserts and frustrated longing, although he can, on occasion, veer from Tom Waitsian Mardi-Gras voodoo (Sinnerman) to FM pop (the ludicrously simple and catchy Black Ticket Day) and a putative KLF Eurovision entry for Bulgaria (The Weepin’ Willow, frankly best avoided, but still a spirited attempt by a fat grumpy ex-punk living in the middle of nowhere in Australia.)

I’ve yet to meet anyone who wasn’t won over by the simple, beautiful opening line of Everything I’ve Got Belongs To You (“I’ve got designs on you that come from dirty books/ And I would lie to you if that is what it took”), while Electrical Storm’s opening, heroic, live, one-and-a-half minute Neil Young-like guitar solo sets Kuepper’s stall out admirably. Sleepy Head has a frankly startling choir that comes up as furious as the dawn, while It’s Lunacy is catchier than I’ve Got a Song That’ll Get on Your Nerves.

A foolhardy, heroic, gorgeous, unexplored part of the map awaiting your Golden Hind.

Caitlin Moran

Copyright: the owner.